Motor vehicles are a major threat to bicyclists across the Oakland area and the country. Bicyclists are in danger of suffering life-threatening injuries from a crash. Cyclists and drivers must avoid distractions and follow all traffic laws and signals to keep the roadways car and bicycle accident-free.
Even though traffic signals and laws help create a safe flow of traffic, motorists must keep a watchful eye out for cyclists and pedestrians. There are many factors that contribute to bike and motor vehicle collisions-distractions, impairment and negligence, to name a few. Bicyclists and motorists alike should review the following common causes of traffic accidents that often lead to cyclist injuries and death.
Passing too closely
Many streets have designated bike riding lanes for cyclists, but cyclists have the right to ride in the traffic lane, as well. Bicycles must move in the same direction as traffic, whether in the bike lane or in the traffic lane. In either lane, bicycles may be in danger of a sideswipe collision if cars, trucks and SUVs pass too close. Three or more feet are necessary to ensure a safe passing maneuver.
When a driver follows another vehicle too closely, the risk of a fender bender is high. Rear-ending a cyclist could be fatal, though. If passing is not possible, the motorist should leave enough space that if the cyclist suddenly came to a stop, the vehicle could brake in time to avoid a collision.
Failing to extend the right of way
The risk of vehicles crashing into bike riders increases when drivers do not give the right of way. Motorists should remain alert and actively check for bicycles, then yield the right of way when necessary before driving through or turning at intersections.
Bicyclists must remain alert and use safe riding behaviors, especially when they are around vehicles. Anyone who is injured by a motorist while riding a bicycle may be able to pursue compensation for accident-related expenses.